February 2010

Stracciatella Gelato (Recipe)

Stracciatella Gelato is a wonderful creamy Vanilla Italian Ice cream with chopped semisweet chocolate.

It is one of the top Gelato flavors enjoyed in Italy! You will notice it on display with its distinctive drizzle of chocolate on top!

 

Stracciatella Gelato

Makes 4 serving, but who am I kidding more like 1 for me! :)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk (not low fat)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tahitian vanilla bean split from end to end

Method
Mix the cream milk and sugar into a suitable sized sauce pan. Using medium heat, cook the mixture until the sugar has dissolved into the cream.

 

Continue cooking until it begins to form bubbles around the edges of the pan. Do not boil!

Remove from heat, scrape the vanilla bean seeds and add them to the heated mix and drop in the bean pod. This will infuse the vanilla into the cream.

Let the vanilla steep into the mix for 35 minutes. Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours preferably overnight if possible.

Time to make Stracciatella Gelato!

Remove your mix from the refrigerator, remove the vanilla pod and mix in your chopped semisweet chocolate.

Transfer to your gelato maker, freeze using the instructions provided.


Panino Sandwiches - Panini (Recipes)

IMG_1881

Panini are wonderful, simple to make Italian sandwiches!

 

Panini (small bread In Italian) may be made with sliced artisan bread or a individual roll.  If you ever had a grilled cheese you had a type of Panini!

 My first experience with Panini sandwiches would be in America but the true experience was when I first visited Italy! 

As I walked the streets of Rome I witnessed carts that sold these wonderful yet simple sandwiches which celebrated the local ingredients.

Snack-cart

No need for lots of layers of unnecessary ingredients, they were full flavored due to the quality of the breads, cheeses and meats which were chosen!

That is what I love about Italian cooking, keeping it simple, using the best ingredients and preparing the food to bring out the natural taste.

 

Recently I visited my friends at the Turano Baking Company who gave me a loaf of their artisan Pane Turano.

When I returned home I just had to make a panini on my new panini grill!

Here is what I did to create a very simple but delicious Panini Caprese! 

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Risotto with Sweet Peas - Risi e Bisi (Recipe)

Risotto with Sweet Peas

 

For many Risotto has a reputation of complexity that may discourage them from making it.

I encourage you to take some time to make this easy and satisfying Risotto recipe.   I chose Risotto with sweet peas because I felt it was a great Risotto dish to start with.  There are a few versions of Risi e Bisi out there, some with pancetta and others with the peas pureed.

I have to omit, growing up the closest we had to a Risotto was a dish my Mom made for us which we called "Rice and Gravy" which we just LOVED!  Simply rice with her Sunday gravy mixed in and poured over topped with Parmesan cheese!  Yum....

Back to the recipe...

Here is one version of Risi e Bisi that I created very quickly, simple and great!

I plan on making others as well in future posts, but in the meantime here it is Risi e Bisi!

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Eggplant Parmesan - Melanzane alla Parmigiana (recipe)

Plate breaded Eggplant Parmesan

 

Eggplant Parmesan, when you read or hear it you may perhaps think of a sandwich or a layered lasagna like casserole.

The truth is that Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana) is a side dish!  I was surprised to find this out seeing that my experience in every Italian restaurant I went to, it was presented as a meatless entree accompanied with pasta.

Think of it as a casserole similar to the American vegetable cheese bakes that we find. 

The beautiful thing about Eggplant Parmesan is that it may be prepared in many forms; it may be layered and baked like Lasagna or in  ramekins  as an individual portion.  No mater what way you make it, you most likely have your own family favorite way to prepare Eggplant Parmesan.

With that said, I decided to prepare and taste five versions--each different in its own way. I suggest reading them all and then choose one that interests you!

 

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